Daniel Agee

1st Kings 5: Meet the King of Tyre who will help Solomon build the Temple

What looks at first to be a dry exchange between kings Solomon and Hiram about the temple building project take on deeper significance via prophecies in chiastic literary structure.

Compare the parallel thoughts — paired by color — in 2nd Chron. 2:2–18:

2 He conscripted 70,000 men as carriers and 80,000 as stone-cutters in the hills and 3,600 as foremen over them. 

3 Solomon sent this message to Hiram king of Tyre:

build a palace to live in…build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God 

the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? 

Who then am I

7 “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.

8 “Send me also cedar, juniper and algum logs from Lebanon…10 I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber,

10b twenty thousand cors of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil. ”

11 Hiram king of Tyre replied by letter to Solomon:

“Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king.”

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth!

A wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment,

 build a temple for the Lord…palace for himself.

13 “I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill…work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen…engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father.

15 “Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised, 

16 and we will cut all the logs from Lebanon,

18 He assigned 70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stone-cutters in the hills, with 3,600 foremen over them

This story is told twice, in 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles. The account in 2nd Chronicles 2 has more information than the version in the book of 1st Kings

This conversation is more than just a correspondence between two kings. The topic of their conversation is the Temple that Solomon is starting to build. 

Does Solomon express a desire to build God’s Temple the way that David did in 2nd Samuel? Where did David get the idea to build God a Temple? 

God tells David, “You won’t build me a house.” God says He doesn’t need a house to dwell. God tells David that David’s son will “build a house for My Name.” 

There’s a difference between building God a house versus building a house for God’s name. 

The Temple was build for people to bring their sacrifices to God and serve Him. It was made for His people to glorify His name. 

Solomon asks Hiram, the king of Tyre for cedars and cypress and Solomon reimburses this in food, a lot of food and wine. 

At the end of the chapter, we are told, “So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house.” The Gebalites were masons and they helped build God’s house. Some Christians get upset with the fact that non-God fearing people had a significant hand in building God’s Temple, even Masons. Non-Israelites were given the job of cutting the stones and moving them from Lebanon to Jerusalem. 

Solomon also set up a schedule for the conscripted labor, they would rotate and work one month in Lebanon and two months at home. His father David, had already set up a schedule for the Levites and High Priests and their temple work so it’s reasonable that Solomon would also have set up a schedule for the Israelite Temple workers. However, it’s not recorded that the Gentile workers received a similar rest. They didn’t get to rest until the end of the job. 

There is a lot more information in 2nd Chronicles 2 than in 1st Kings 5. This is not contradictory information, just additional information. 

When we read 2nd Chronicles, we see pattern in the story, not a clear-cut pattern, but a pattern nonetheless. When you see something repeated that doesn’t need to be repeated, it’s a clue that there’s a pattern that demands the reader’s attention. 

Solomon asks King Hiram to send him a special man to organize the construction of the temple and Hiram replies by sending him a man who was a Danite by matrilineal descent, a man who is a blend of Jew and Gentile. 

The most important point of 2nd Chronicles 2 is this: “Because the Lord loves His people, He has made you their king” (verse 11). Solomon is a Messianic figure and Solomon is building a house for God’s name and Yeshua, the Messiah is building God’s name, not in a building but in His people. 

This is a Messianic chapter and we are learning about the foundations of God’s house. 

Most of people who were conscripted to build the Temple were Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles were drafted to build God’s house and there were more Gentiles involved in the building of God’s temple than Jews. 

Hiram knew more about God than one might expect a Gentile king would know about God. Yet, later, we see that the kingdom of Tyre is destroyed. Why was God so angry with them? It might be because they actually knew Him and decided to give Him up and go their own way. 

Speaker: Daniel Agee. Reader: Jeff. Summary: Tammy. 


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